Steve McCabe's views on Syria

Many people have asked me for my views on the situation in Syria and the vote in Parliament. I apologise for the delay although I am responding to all those who contacted me but the numbers are quite large. I’ve set out my views here:

 

It’s not clear what purpose military action was designed to achieve. To destroy Assad’s chemical weapons would require very specific intelligence and targeting and be unlikely to succeed without killing a large number of innocent civilians and releasing toxins into the atmosphere. A punitive missile strike risked the life of innocent civilians and meant taking sides in a civil war.

No one doubts that something evil happened in Ghouta on 21st August. Syria is not a signatory to the Rome Statute so those responsible could only be brought before the International Criminal Court through a UN resolution. It’s not clear how that could be obtained if Britain agreed military action before the UN weapons inspectors reported and bypassed any decision making processes at the UN.

As well as receiving support from the Russia, Syria is being bankrolled by Iran. On the 18th August Ahmed al Jerba, one of the Leaders of the Syrian Opposition, told the al-Hayat Daily that Assad’s regime had been defeated and they were now ‘facing and army commanded by the Iranian regime that has imposed on us all out war with advanced weapons’. Why should Iran be influenced by a missile strike on Syria?

I don’t oppose military action if it has a clear purpose and intended outcome and I don’t believe dictators should get away with gassing their own people but we need evidence and legal procedures and may need to accept that ‘Missile Diplomacy’ has had its day. Much as I condemn what has happened in Syria perhaps the best that can be achieved is humanitarian aid, painstaking efforts to build support with Russia and China at the UN and renewed efforts to bring the parties in this civil war and Intra Islamic feud around the negotiating table.

Steve McCabe

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